So much has happened during the past month, and here we go again! After being so jazzed that we were winners of several ARTS Awards in Dallas, we’re heading to Las Vegas Market this week where we’ll be celebrating our 30thAnniversary with our West Coast design community (and everyone else who travels there from parts far and wide) from January 27 through 31. Join us for our “Thanking You for 30 Years Cocktail Party” on January 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. in our showroom (World Market Center, Building C, Suite 398). As you salute us, we’ll be saluting you for helping us get where we are today!
We’re Turning 30 as Winners!
We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by the showroom in AmericasMart during the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market earlier this month to help us celebrate our anniversary there. We had so much fun hosting Jennifer Boles’ book signing and introducing the products we unveiled during High Point Market last fall to the Atlanta design community.
Proving that design never sleeps, we had no sooner ended Market in Atlanta when we found ourselves winging our way to Dallas for the Total Home & Gift Market.
We enjoyed unveiling our sparkling new expanded showroom, hosting a pop-up by Shannon Koszyk, introducing the Denise McGaha Collection to the Dallas design community and holding a live lamp-shade painting demo with Kelly O’Neal of Design Legacy. In the midst of all of this excitement, we also experienced a remarkable evening at the ARTS Awards where we came away winners in a number of categories. Hand me the envelope please…
Five Big Wins at the ARTS Awards
It just so happens that Currey & Company and the ARTS Awards are the same age, and the 30thhanding-out of the coveted clear obelisks was very good to us. The judges also declared several of the designers who envision some of our most popular products as winners. As Jane Dagmi, the editor-in-chief of Designers Today, puts it in her wrap-up of the evening, “The ARTS Awards are like the Golden Globes of our industry.” This year, more than ever, the excitement stirred by the accolades felt just as giddy to us as the movie-industry equivalent must to the celebrities who are recognized for their work.
Our Director of Furniture Aimee Kurzner won the ARTS Award for Best Product Designer. We took home the ARTS Award for Best Accent Furniture, a distinction Brownlee acknowledged springs from the design brilliance Aimee and the rest of the creative team bring to their work. You can hear his speech in the video below taken by Vivi Mira-Culmer:
We were also tapped for Best Visual Presentation for our new showroom, and two of the designers with whom we are so fortunate to collaborate took home statuettes that evening. Denise McGaha won the ARTS Award for Best Interior Designer and Aviva Stanoff took home the obelisk for Best Textile Company. We salute both of these super talented women who continue to inspire us immensely.
In congratulating all of this year’s winners, Cindy Morris, the president and CEO of Dallas Market Center, said, “It was an evening of surprises and joy but most importantly it was an opportunity to celebrate our community of entrepreneurs and artists, sales leaders and legendary figures.” The full list of winners for this 30thinstallment of the awards does indeed include a who’s who of our industry and we would like to congratulate them all, as well.
Let’s Hear It for the Girls!
As a further celebration of the feminine energy that dominated our list of winners, we thought we’d share with you the thoughts of two women who have significantly impacted our success. We asked them to give us their thoughts about our 30thAnniversary as a company and they didn’t disappoint.
Describing the long and rich collaboration we have had with Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, the museum’s Kris DeMesse notes that 23 years ago our founder Robert Currey began selling their Arden Collection of garden furniture, which was a bent-twig design made of iron. “Robert is so charming, he could sell a dead horse to a jockey,” she says. “He just makes you want things and before long, our furniture was ending up everywhere!” About the same time, the museum’s buyers for the catalog landed in our showroom at High Point. They were looking for lighting made from materials they weren’t currently able to source and found that our range of materials was appealing.
By 1995, we undertook our first licensing agreement and the rest, as they say, is design history, as a number of these have become continuing winners. One of our most popular products to date is our Zara lighting collection, which we rolled out in waves from a small chandelier to a large one, then a floor lamp and wall sconce. “It is based upon library materials,” Kris says. “The fixture was taken from a two-dimensional representation of a light fixture and interpreted by them into a three-dimensional object. This is a serious talent the design team at Currey & Company has.”
There is a give-and-take to our collaboration that makes it a dynamic one whether we are visiting their archives to research the collections for future designs or the museum’s team has an idea they would like to have executed. With over 500,000 books and hundreds of thousands of pieces of ephemera, it’s an exceptional experience to comb through the materials. “One of our most exciting collections of ephemera came to us from John and Carolyn Grossman,” Kris notes. “The pieces in it range from trade cards and pieces of French ribbon to books of lace. They hired a curator who worked with them for several years to create a finding guide for the collection.”
This makes it easy for a researcher to unearth untold treasures, she says, adding, “Someone came to us looking for a photo of Victorian shoes with flowers on them. Believe it or not, we found one!” Kris calls our relationship one of the most creative they have seen, which makes us quite proud given the stature of this museum and property. “When so many company’s do product development, they are often workman-like,” she explains. “When Cecil or Tom come and do research, they bring a remarkable passion in taking what they are seeing and making it come to life. They give the products they create extraordinary personality.” This is certainly music to our ears!
Though Betty is now one of our most successful sales representatives whose territory includes Alabama, Georgia and the panhandle of Florida, she has helped our company be successful in a number of ways during the past three decades. As a member of a rep group that sold home furnishings at the time, she was sourcing garden furniture and accessories from our founder Robert Currey before our company was formed. “As time moved on, Currey & Company began to take shape,” she says. “As it evolved from a source for garden products to include lighting, I came on board as Bob Ulrich’s assistant.” Betty quips that Bob is fond of saying she knows where all of the skeletons are buried!
She also admits that Suzanne Currey, also one of our founders, has always been an inspiration for her. “I would watch her work with customers on the floor in the showrooms and was so impressed with how she handled every situation that came at her,” she explains. “And there was always quite a lot coming at her because Robert was famous for bringing furniture out at market that no one knew about—he’d been building it up until the minute the doors were opening!”
She notes that we have been more like a family to her rather than just a job. “The company has given me a chance to grow,” she says. “This makes me care about it like it is my own.” In this vein, it is clear Betty is passionate about what she does: “I want us to be the best at whatever we undertake and anything that keeps us from getting there gets a rise out of me!” She certainly talks to enough people to know how our reputation is faring in the eyes of others, given she’s on the road so much of the time. Fortunately, she likes to travel.
Though the products always take center stage, she feels compelled to shine a light on how many other ares of business we excel in: “Currey & Company does an unbelievable job at supplying us reps with materials in a timely manner. Another thing that sets the company apart is how many products they stock. Both of these things make my job easier.” Her loyalty is contagious, as is her respect for what we have built. In many ways, she sees us as an arbiter of taste.
“I remember when we introduced faux bois,” she says, smiling. “You have to remember, not very many people even knew what it was back then. Suzy was in the office and she said, ‘Let’s go look at the faux bois.’ When I walked out into the factory, I thought to myself, ‘Robert has finally lost his mind!’ Well, he proved me wrong then, as he did when he brought all of the shell-encrusted pieces in. It’s the level of vision presented by these anecdotes, which has always been at the very foundation of this company, that helps us continue to produce such a broad range of styles year-in and year-out.”
We couldn’t have said it better, Betty, and we are clearly aware that it is people like you who have helped us create a company that is so vibrantly alive for 30 years and counting!
We’d like to thank Beth Tilley Green, who had the camera turned on her during the ARTS Awards, for the wonderful images from Dallas. Her images are always winners in our eyes!